Stop accepting BJP ‘hospitality’, come back, Surjewala tells Pilot
Jaipur: Senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala on Wednesday asked dissident leader Sachin pilot to stop accepting a BJP government’s “hospitality” if he does not wish to join that party and “return home” in Jaipur to discuss grievances.
The reference was to reports that the MLAs close to the rebel leaders are holed up in hotels in Gurgaon of Haryana, where the BJP is in power.
He also repeated the party’s appeal to Pilot, asking him to “come back to the family”.
“I have seen Pilot’s statement in the media that he will not join the BJP. If you do not want to go to the BJP, stop accepting the hospitality of the BJP immediately,” he told reporters outside a Jaipur hotel where party MLAs backing Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot are lodged since Monday.
He told reporters that Pilot should free the Congress MLAs who are staying in two luxury hotels and under the security of the Haryana Police.
Surjewala said the party leadership spoke to Pilot several times but he and the other Congress MLAs did not come to attend the Congress Legislature Party meetings.
“Our young colleague Sachin Pilot was requested several times by the party leadership with an open heart to come and speak on the party forum if he has differences with the chief minister or any other leader,” the Congress chief spokesperson said.
He said Pilot should “return home in Jaipur” and should speak on the party forum.
“I would also suggest other Congress MLAs that they should not avoid returning. Come, sit and talk in the family. This will be the proof of your true allegiance and commitment to the party,” Surjewala said.
Surjewala said the Congress gave Sachin Pilot many post at a young age, which probably no other leader in any party got, be it the Congress or the BJP.
The party had to announce action against him with a heavy heart, he said.
Pilot was sacked on Tuesday as Rajasthan’s deputy chief minister and the president of the state unit of the party after he did not attend the Congress Legislature Party meetings.
Two other ministers–Vishvendra Singh and Ramesh Meena–were also removed from the state Cabinet.
They are accused of involvement in the BJP’s “conspiracy” to topple the Ashok Gehlot-led Rajasthan government.
Sachin Pilot says not joining BJP
New Delhi: “I am not joining the BJP,” Congress leader Sachin Pilot said on Wednesday, asserting that the speculation about his switching sides was being fuelled by certain leaders in Rajasthan to tarnish his image.
Pilot’s remarks come a day after the Congress sacked him as Rajasthan’s deputy chief minister and the party’s state unit president. Two loyalists of Pilot were also dropped from the state Cabinet.
“I have worked very hard to bring the Congress party back in the government and defeat the BJP,” he told PTI.
In an apparent reference to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s camp, Pilot said some leaders in Rajasthan were trying to fuel speculation that he is joining the BJP and that he would like to categorically state that he was not doing so.
“Such a speculation is being fuelled to tarnish my image,” he said.
After being sacked, Pilot had tweeted in Hindi on Tuesday, “Truth can be rattled, not defeated.”
Gehlot has accused his former deputy of playing into the hands of the BJP.
Pilot had kept away from two CLP meetings held on Monday and Tuesday after which the action against him was taken.
Pilot has been upset since the Congress picked Gehlot as the chief minister after the 2018 assembly polls, while his own supporters insisted that he deserved credit for the party’s victory as its state unit president.
The current crisis erupted last Friday when the Rajasthan Police sent a notice to Pilot, asking him to record his statement over the alleged bid to bring down the government.
The same notice was sent to the chief minister and some other MLAs, but Pilot’s supporters claimed that it was only meant to humiliate him.
The Special Operation Group (SOG) had sent out the notices after tapping a phone conversation between two men, who were allegedly discussing the fall of the Gehlot government.